A few weeks ago, Valve upset several game developers and gamers when the company threatened to remove games over sexual content from its digital distribution platform, Steam. Then, once again, the company found itself in more hot water when it was discovered Active Shooter - a SWAT-based game that allowed players to play as the shooter - was going to go live on its platform.
Before it did, however, Steam removed the game, leaving many wondering exactly what was allowed on the platform. In a blog post, Valve revealed the answer to that question:
Valve shouldn't be the ones deciding this. If you're a player, we shouldn't be choosing for you what content you can or can't buy. If you're a developer, we shouldn't be choosing what content you're allowed to create. Those choices should be yours to make.
The exception to the rule, however, is anything illegal or designed as a "trolling" game. While the legality of a game is self-explanatory, "trolling" is a bit less defined. However, it could probably be described as a game developed for no other reason than to cause drama, as Valve did describe Active Shooter as a troll, which makes sense given the content and context of the game.
This news should come as a relief for many, including those upset by the Active Shooter game or the developers behind the games being threatened over sexual content. Valve's laissez-faire approach isn't absolute, however, as it is developing tools to help users maintain control over what they see in the store and tools to help developers combat common issues, such as review bombing.
Considering Valve is hiring people for "top secret" new video game projects, this decision is likely to bode well for Valve, as many would-be players could potentially upset if the company was effectively censoring other developers. Although Valve's projects are currently unknown, it'll be interesting to see what the publisher has in store for its fanbase.